French police Friday said Hasna Aitboulahcen, a French-Moroccan national and cousin of the alleged ringleader behind last week's attacks in Paris, did not set off a suicide bomb during a Wednesday raid on suspected terrorists in Saint-Denis. Instead, police said another person in the apartment did, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a police source.
Aitboulahcen was among three individuals killed, including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, during an hours-long raid that focused on two apartments in Saint-Denis. More than 100 police and soldiers stormed the building, and more than 5,000 bullets were exchanged. Seven people were arrested.
Police watched Paris attack mastermind being led by St. Denis suicide bomber into building night before raid: source https://t.co/dft3XY75Rh
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) November 20, 2015
The police raids were conducted after coordinated terrorist attacks last Friday night led to at least 130 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The attacks, for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility, targeted a stadium, a concert hall, and restaurants and bars. The extremists were armed with AK-47s and grenades and were wrapped in suicide vests.
Following Friday’s attack, French authorities said police conducted nearly 800 raids. A state of emergency has been enforced to allow authorities time to track down other potential suspects. It was the largest terrorist event in a Western country since ISIS rose to power in Syria and Iraq. France is involved in the anti-ISIS coalition and has long been threatened by extremist groups.
— Financial Times (@FT) November 20, 2015
Friends of Aitboulahcen described her as naive and vulnerable, but said they found it difficult to believe she was an extremist. They told the BBC they couldn't believe she would have blown herself up. "I don't think she had the intention to be a suicide bomber," a friend said. "I don't think she planned it. It must have been a last-minute thing. She was influenced."
Initially just two suspected terrorists were reported to be dead following the Saint-Denis raid. Police announced Friday a third individual had been found in the rubble.